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What is a Domestic Goddess?
My focus is home cooking – including baking. So when thinking of a domestic goddess it’s for me a cookbook author covering exactly & completely this subject.
For the record:
Goddesses? Are there only women?
Well: the title of this post relies to the authors of the cookbooks I like to present to you – & all the authors happen to be women.
So we are talking about mastering everyday food preparation in a private kitchen, in a completely normal household i. e. no professional kitchen w/ lots of special kitchen equipment like in a restaurant or so.
Furthermore we are talking about people who managed to become a domestic goddess w/o (almost) any professional education or training. They are more driven by their passion for food & cooking & baking – maybe resulting in some adventure like attending a cookery course later in lifetime, but primarily they are self-educated. Their business interests are confined to writing & selling cookbooks, maybe hosting a TV cookery show.
For the record:
What about food bloggers? Ok – they are not in focus today, because food bloggers are mainly driven by their special interests & their daily food adventures: the systematic processing of food preparation, techniques, dish preparation, meal planning etc. isn’t their main goal. In this light a food blogger publishes more some sort of private diary than a complete account of how to cook at home.
Coming back to the books I like to emphasize that we are dealing w/ cookbooks that cover the whole world of cooking meaning that you may find „How to make a sauce béarnaise?“ as well as „How to carve a chicken?“ or „How to do mousse au chocolat?“ or „How to do perfect scrambled eggs?“.
Why do we need a domestic goddess‘ cookbook?
It should show us what we can do in our private small kitchen – simply & fast. It should always be delicious w/o being only homebound. It shall be a reference book, but it shall give us new ideas as well.
For the record – once for all:
This post & the sequels represent my very personal view.
I’m limited. I’m no professional food writer. I’ve only read a limited number of cookbooks – & there are thousands out there somewhere. Based on this limited world outlook as well as my personal preferences I found the cookbooks & the authors resp. the domestic goddesses behind which I like to introduce to you.
(I’m sure there are other world outlooks, other reading experiences, other personal preferences, other book shelves filled w/ books on food & cooking & baking etc.)
So: who is it I’m talking about?
I’m talking about Julia, Delia, Nigella & Mary… & here are their books*:
(Of course – all of them have published far more than the following books, however, I think this is the essence of their work!)
You’ll find all these books also on my cookbook page… & for the sake of preventing any misunderstandings: it’s the girl band featuring:
I’d like to summarize once more:
- A domestic goddess published a cookbook (or more) about home cooking covering the whole universe of food & food preparation & techniques etc.
- Their books became some sort of bibles for home cooking through the last decades.
Coming to the timeline:
- around 1950-1970
Julia Child wrote her 1st cookbook in the 1950s & published it beginning of the 1960s.
A 2nd part followed about 1970; the 1st part was slightly updated then.
- around 1980
Delia Smith published her cookery course 1978 and updated later.
- around 2000
Nigella Lawson published „How to eat“ in 1998; the baking sequel followed in 2000.
- around 2017
Mary Berry just published a thoroughly updated version of her basic cookbook (originally published in 1995).
So we are dealing w/ almost 70 years of cooking & baking… at home!
Well: a sauce béarnaise is a sauce béarnaise is a sauce béarnaise… That’s one point of view.
Nevertheless it’s interesting to have a closer look at the aforementioned cookbooks. Do we need all of them? Well: life changed a lot during the last decades & food & cooking changed, too. I think the books represent somehow what happened at the home front.
I already mentioned the obvious fact of dealing only w/ women resp. domestic goddesses. I didn’t stumble on any cookbook written by a man representing home cooking so far – well: related to my limited cookbook library & my surfing in the net. When encountering men at work in the kitchen they had often already acquired one or more stars… & their cookbook volumes deal w/ high-end cooking of sophisticated meals w/ exquisite & rare & expensive ingredients. (Maybe we should call them chef gods…)
Of course there is Jamie… He created his own culture of cooking, but I never came across of something like a complete home cooking approach.
I’m German & I live in Germany – so why aren’t there any German cookbook authors w/ a domestic god/goddess factor? It’s the same as before – I never found anyone… There are some basic oeuvres, however, w/ o any personal flavour i. e. only extensive recipe accumulations. (One of the best examples is the latest edition of Dr. Oetkers Schulkochbuch – in that style there quite a lot of weighty tomes.) There are also – of course – books of successful restaurant owners, chefs… (see above).
There are in-depth posts about my domestic goddesses coming soon on this blog.
(…& maybe I’ll find other cooking bibles during the next years!)
“Stay hungry! Stay foolish!”
Steve Jobs (also valid for home cooking!)